Owen Matthews

Age 10

September 19, 2019 was a day our world changed forever. Perhaps it is the day our world came to a stop? Or maybe the day our world got turned upside down? However you look at it, it is definitely a day we did not expect. That was the day our sweet, fun, caring son was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma–Non-Fusion.

Owen, ten years old, complained with stomach pain for a few days before we took him to the emergency room on August 2, 2019. Finally, after a CT scan and meeting with the ER doctor, we were told bowel impaction was the culprit. We were given stool softeners and enemas and told to check in with a primary care doctor if needed. After a couple of weeks Owen was still in pain. He had night sweats so bad it would require the bedding to be changed. He couldn’t sit down because it hurt. He couldn’t lie down because it hurt. Everything hurt. After seeing one ER doctor, a primary care doctor, and a gastroenterologist, we still had no answers.

On the morning of September 19, I knew something was wrong. In a matter of 12 hours Owen went from having normal features to having a very large hard mass protruding from his lower bottom area. We rushed him to a different emergency room and immediately they did a CT and X-rays. The next thing we knew, we were in an ambulance headed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Owen was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in the pelvic floor. His tumor is 7”x5”x3”. It is aggressive. It is large. It is not in the most ideal area. In a time span of 24 hours our sweet boy went from having stomach pain to a life-altering cancer. We started treatment immediately at Vanderbilt and at the beginning of 2020 we moved to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to continue chemotherapy and also to start proton radiation treatments.

Owen is ten years old at this time and looks forward to the day he can claim victory against Rhabdomyosarcoma and officially be cancer-free. He is ready to get back to baseball and basketball with his friends. When he grows up he wants to be a policeman and protect everyone.

Written by Jennifer Matthews, mother of Owen.

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